Tax Lawyers, Tax Defiance, and the Ethics of Casual Conversation

33 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2010 Last revised: 22 Mar 2011

See all articles by Michael Hatfield

Michael Hatfield

University of Washington - School of Law

Date Written: July 16, 2010


This Essay addresses the increasingly common social situation in which tax lawyers are confronted with tax protester arguments and similar anti-tax system comments. This Essay seeks to place these conversations in a greater context of tax policy and ethical considerations, urging tax lawyers not to walk away from the conversations but rather to engage with hopes of educating the public, improving the law, and protecting the interests of the vast majority of Americans who pay their share of the price of civilization and expect others to do the same.

Keywords: tax, ethics, professional responsibility, tax protestor, tax defier, robust professionalism, tax evasion, tax gap, civic virtue, tea party, taxation without representation, tax reform, sixteenth amendment, Aaron Russo

JEL Classification: H26, K34

Suggested Citation

Hatfield, Michael W., Tax Lawyers, Tax Defiance, and the Ethics of Casual Conversation (July 16, 2010). Florida Tax Review, Vol. 10, No. 10, 2011; Texas Tech Law School Research Paper No. 2010-26. Available at SSRN:

Michael W. Hatfield (Contact Author)

University of Washington - School of Law ( email )

William H. Gates Hall
Box 353020
Seattle, WA 98105-3020
United States
206-221-1535 (Phone)


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